With a résumé including membership in two bands (Uncle Earl and Sometymes Why), a stint on A Prarie Home Companion, and recording with Sufjan Stevens, Kristin Andreassen has already well proven her musical chops. She also displays them quite well on her 2006 solo debut Kiss Me Hello. Now, Andreassen is preparing for the release of her sophomore studio LP, Gondolier, in early 2015. Below you can stream the tender folk of “The New Ground”, a warm introduction to the music that is to come on the album.
Andreassen tells PopMatters quite a bit about this new tune of hers: “‘The New Ground’ was the last song I wrote for the album. The title comes from something Bessie Jones said in a book about old time play party games for kids. There was a lyric in a game about ‘the new ground’; she explained that this is what you call the earth when you’ve cut down the trees and you’re ready to plant for the first time. The next morning with coffee in hand, this song just kind of spilled out of me in about 15 minutes (like they rarely do). It was meant as an incantation to bring about a successful day of writing, and after starting a dozen other song ideas, it was this first little chant that stuck with me.
“The day we recorded ‘The New Ground’, we had planned to track something else. But when I saw this crazy electric banjo bass that Tony Maimone randomly brought to the studio with him, it seemed like that might be exactly the sound I was picturing for this new song and we just switched gears. (Tony is a legendary bass player who used to play with Pere Ubu, They Might Be Giants, Lucinda Williams, and a pile of other great bands). So I played baritone ukulele and Jefferson Hamer played guitar. We ran the song through about four times over lunch and then just went and recorded it live to tape with all three of us in one room. I think the elegance of Jefferson’s guitar contrasts with the primeval clattering of the banjo bass in this truly awesome way. Later overdubs included Paul Kowert on acoustic bass, Alec Spiegelman on flute and Lawson White (who produced, recorded and mixed this track) on percussion. Lawson is playing the case of a big bass drum with his hands.”
Gondolier is out on 17 February.